A leaking roof will cause a lot of problems for a homeowner. And while a properly installed roof will last for many years, severe storms, fluctuating temperatures, and pests can all cause roof leaks. It’s crucial to repair a roof leak as soon as it’s discovered. If you don’t, the following damages will likely occur.
Discoloration of roofing components
Let’s start by looking at the most minimal changes before progressing to the more serious problems. And one of the least problematic results of a leaking roof is discoloration.
Shingles, underlayment, rafters, and even the ceiling can become discolored and unsightly if exposed to water damage for a long enough period.
Water absorbs tannins and other chemicals as it leaks through the roof, and these contribute to the discoloration of shingles and other roofing components. This feature of a roof leak is a sure-fire sign that something in your roofing system is compromised, and it notifies you to take action immediately to stop it.
Growth of mold and mildew
A more serious problem caused by neglecting roof leaks is the growth of mold and mildew.
Growth occurs in confined spaces with little to no sunlight, like the attic or trapped in the ceiling. Not only will mold eventually weaken whatever facet it is growing on, mold can cause serious health issues. Patches of odd colors or black circles are a sure sign of mold and mildew growth.
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Premature drywall fatigue
If you fail to notice shingle discolorations or mold growth, one long-term effect of a leaking roof is drywall fatigue. Because drywall is typically made of plaster, once moisture penetrates it, it starts to lose structural cohesion.
And as soon as drywall reaches an over-saturation point it will start to fail — it’ll start to break into smaller chunks and release dust into the home. If the damaged section is on the ceiling, it’s entirely possible sections of the ceiling will collapse.
Worn electrical wiring
One of the more serious effects of a long-term roof leak is worn out electrical wires.
Water tarnishes copper wires and degrades wire coverings, causing them to break or completely short out. Even worse, if the leak exposes an electric box of breaker system to leaking water you’re looking at a completely shorted out system. This creates seriously unsafe conditions for everyone in the home, not to mention a costly visit by an electrician.
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Rotted structural components
The greatest concern of a long-term roof leak is rotted structural components of the house and roof. Rafters, mortar joints, beams, and other crucial elements of the wooden frame will rot and become structurally unsound if exposed to water over a prolonged period.
Rotted wood also attracts carpenter ants and termites. Once a roof rafter or beam becomes rotted, it will have to be replaced, which is not a cheap affair.
What could have been simple roof repair project of only a few hundred bucks will now likely cost upwards of a thousand dollars, if not more.
So if the aesthetic, health, and structural reasons are not enough for you, look at it from purely an economic standpoint. It’s far cheaper to take preventative action and repair the roof leak immediately than to wait around for the worst to happen.